Asian stocks yesterday underlined their ability to outperform in the face of a fresh plunge on Wall Street which saw the Nasdaq Composite Index close below its post-September 11 low. Markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand bounced back from early weakness to post gains despite accounting worries again skittling United States stocks. The Hang Seng Index was a relative odd man out with a 1 per cent loss after the Nasdaq on Monday dived 4.06 per cent to end at 1,403.8 points, its lowest close since June 10, 1997. JF Funds regional technology portfolio manager Victor Lee said: 'Asian markets are not 100 per cent following the Nasdaq, they've been showing some outperformance and I believe that can continue to happen. 'The world at the moment looks at costs, it doesn't look at new products.' Investors were more concerned with cheap valuations on Asian companies which were mainly lower down the food chain, Mr Lee said. According to CSFB vice-president of regional technology sales, Vijay Harjani, technology companies in Standard & Poor's 500 Index traded on at least 30 times this year's expected earnings, while those covered by CSFB in Korea and Taiwan were only on 12 and 15 times respectively. 'What cushions Asia on the downside are the valuation discrepancies,' he said. Mr Lee compared Korea's Samsung Electronics with US chip-makers Intel and Texas Instruments. Samsung had annual sales of US$34 billion, more than Intel's US$29 billion and Texas' US$8.3 billion. Yet Samsung's market capitalisation was only US$40.8 billion against US$117 billion for Intel and US$41 billion for Texas. And, while Samsung's forward price-earnings ratio was 7.2, Intel was on 29.5 and Texas a princely 77. The recent slide on Nasdaq had pushed Samsung down nearly 23 per cent from its high. But it was also still 137.85 per cent off its post-September low. Similarly the technology bellwether in Taipei, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has given up 25 per cent of its gains from its low last year but was still up 64 per cent. With their low-cost bases, Asian companies are even benefiting from the distress in techland as their developed-market peers increasingly outsource work to preserve collapsing margins. Mr Harjani said Asia was locked into global supply chains and was far from immune from the travails of the sector where unit sales of computers and mobile phones were, at best, likely to be flat this year. 'It's a tough game to figure whether Asia technology has decoupled. It is difficult to segregate by geography,' he said. US graphics chip maker Nvidia has come under pressure as it is supplying processors for Microsoft's loss-making Xbox games console. CLSA Emerging Markets regional strategist Christopher Wood said: 'This in turn hits TSMC since Nvidia is a major customer. Indeed the company accounts for 16 per cent of TSMC's sales.' While Asia might be relatively virtuous compared with scandal-hit Wall Street it is not immune from collateral damage. The fanfare on Monday was about Nasdaq closing below its post-September low. But it should be noted that the broader-based S&P 500 is within three points of sliding under its low. Going below that might cause more technically-driven investors to throw in the towel.